Time To Fly

Posted: September 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 14 Comments »


We’re the better team.  I know they have a record and Parcells has his “you are what your record says” thing, but watch the tape.  We’re better.

Now we have to play like that.  The offense must produce at the level they’re capable of.  There were injury concerns with Mike Vick and Jeremy Maclin, but both practiced on Friday and will play on Sunday, barring some strange event (keep Dutch Daulton and the Mayans away from ’em).

The defense must do their job.  We’ve allowed 64 points in the last 2 weeks.  That is completely unacceptable and must change on Sunday.  We’ve got the talent to shut out the Niners if our guys play up to their ability.

As for STs…you guys just keep up the good work.


The Brian Rolle era begins.  My long lost son is ready to unleash his brand of awesomeness all over the SF offense.  Juan Castillo has been adjusting the LBs recently and we need to see if the changes pay off.  Jamar Chaney struggled last week, but was in his first game at MLB since last year.  We’ll find out if part of the problem was rust.  Moise Fokou is still at SAM.  I do wonder how much he’ll play and how he’ll be used.  The matchup with TE Vernon Davis is the trickiest of the game.  Fokou has come cover skills, but isn’t the guy you want on Davis for 4 quarters.  And we’ll see how Rolle does.  Effort and intensity sure won’t be a concern.

The LBs will need to play well to handle the Niners rushing attack.  Jim Harbaugh will ground and pound.  It sounds like star RB Frank Gore will be very limited, but the Niners also have Anthony Dixon (big back) and Kendall Hunter (small, shifty back).  They’ll run a lot no matter what.

SF’s runners aren’t speedy guys.  They will attack us between the tackles.  It is up to the LBs to get off blocks and make tackles.

As for the Niners OL and our DL, advantage us.  I think Trent Cole will give LT Joe Staley fits.  Staley is a more talented version of the Falcons’ Sam Baker.  He’s not huge and can be driven back by a good bull rush.  The other matchup that favors us is DT Cullen Jenkins vs RG Chilo Rachal, assuming Rachal plays.  He might be benched in favor of Adam Snyder.  SF has given up 11 sacks so I expect us to get regular pressure.

The temptation might be for Castillo to blitz.  Cincy blitzed last week and had success with it.  Smith doesn’t react well to pressure.  The OL struggles against a 4-man rush, let alone the blitz.  The skill players didn’t help much.  If Gore is limited, that means a backup RB would be pass blocking as well as running.

I think blitzing is fine, as long as Vernon Davis is accounted for.  He’s the one wild card on the offense that must be stopped.  Coverages have to be built around controlling him.  SF is a small ball offense.  Make them go the long field.  Don’t give up big plays to Davis.  I hope we see Nnamdi Asomugha covering him some of the time.  We need to be creative.  Maybe Keenan Clayton gets a shot to cover him in some sets.

I do hope we’re aggressive with our coverage.  SF is fine with short passes.  I think pressing them and forcing them to beat you deep is the way to go.  Don’t play off and give them short throws.  They’re fine with that.  Let’s make them uncomfortable.  I also don’t fear their WRs getting deep on us.  Make them earn every yard.


We have faced the Niners a lot in recent years, but this will be their first chance to play against the new Michael Vick.  That should be interesting.

I could see the Niners looking at last week and deciding that blitzing isn’t the way to go.  They could rush 4 guys and then use LB Patrick Willis to spy Vick.  Willis is one of the few guys with the speed and skill set to possibly handle Vick in the open field.

Our OL should handle their DL pretty well.  I do think Kyle DeVan will have his hands full with Ray McDonald.  That’s a tough matchup.  Justin Smith can be disruptive, whether going against Peters, Mathis, or just chasing down plays.

Jason Kelce could be a key player in this game.  He’ll be covered by NT Isaac Sopoaga plenty of times.  That’s a battle Kelce needs to control, if not win.  Just as important will be Kelce getting to the 2nd level and blocking LBs on some run/pass plays.  Willis and Navorro Bowman are both good in pursuit.  If Kelce can block one, that’s one less guy for Shady to deal with on a run play or screen pass.

Generally the way to attack Willis is by running straight at him.  His best skill is making plays on the move.  Run at him and he’s just a stationary LB.  He can be blocked.

We haven’t thrown the ball downfield since the season opener.  I think that could happen on the first play of the game.  I’d guess a flea-flicker, but with Vick having a hurt hand I’m not sure that’s the way to go.  The SF back seven are aggressive run defenders.  They can be beat with fakes.  We need to throw deep, whether to DeSean or Mac.  We need to make SF nervous.

I expect us to move the ball pretty well.  There are 2 keys for us:  1. Avoid turnovers  2.  Score TDs.  I know, I know, that’s football 101 for everybody.  But those 2 areas have hurt us in the last couple of weeks.  Get rid of those issues and we’re 3-0.  With ’em, we’re 1-2.

My hope is to see us throw to Brent Celek more in the Red Zone.  We did that on our first possession in the preseason opener and got an easy TD.  Celek was open on the same route last week, but Vick went for Steve Smith and the ball was picked.  In the RZ, go for the big guy.  Feed the ball to Ronnie Brown down there and let him use his size/skill to get in the endzone.  And my jaw will hit the ground if Owen Schmitt gets a carry at the goal line.


The Niners played in Cincy last week.  Rather than traveling home and then coming right back to Philly they spent the week in Youngstown, OH.  I have no idea if this will help or hurt them.  You can argue it each way, but I’m not sure what the right answer is.

Field position will be very important.  We must cover kicks well and get to Ted Ginn.  Don’t let him beat you.

SF averages 214 yards of offense per game.  In the 1st half of our games this year we have 214, 222, and 231 yards.  Talk about a clash of styles.

We are the better team and need to play like it.  We should win this game and it shouldn’t be close.  I’m not saying 35-6 or something crazy, but maybe 27-13.  SF is solid, but they don’t have the talent we do.  If we eliminate mistakes, they won’t be able to handle us.  This is an important game.  I can’t wait to see how the team responds.

SF Depth Chart

SF stats

SF at Stats Inc

14 Comments on “Time To Fly”

  1. 1 Sam Lynch said at 8:23 PM on September 30th, 2011:

    Very interested to see how Kelce does this week. It will be a nice test — he’s held up better than I’d feared so far.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 9:10 PM on September 30th, 2011:

    He got pushed around a few plays last week, but all in all has been solid.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 10:15 PM on September 30th, 2011:

    Pitt RB Ray Graham had a great game last night vs USF. Bernard Pierce had a big game vs Maryland on Saturday. Posted notes on them.


  4. 4 Anonymous said at 11:02 PM on September 30th, 2011:

    YAY, all Pitt backfield and then we go back and use the T formation and we become a running team

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 12:08 AM on October 1st, 2011:

    We were a running team last week. That didn’t work out so well. Let’s go back to throwing 65 times a game.

  6. 6 Anonymous said at 2:03 AM on October 1st, 2011:


  7. 7 Anonymous said at 2:11 AM on October 1st, 2011:

    We gonna hire Ken Hatfield as the OC?

  8. 8 Gary said at 11:02 PM on September 30th, 2011:

    Great writeup as always Tommy. I’m expecting some blitzes from your son Mr. Rolly Polly. He seems like someone Castillo likes to use to blitz and Smith is a more “blitzable” quarterback like you said.

    I really want us to try to take some shots deep, even if not a lot is there. It’s so much easier to move the ball with underneath and intermediate throws when defenses are expecting a deep pass. I think it’s become a key part of our offense, not just a luxury.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 1:10 AM on October 1st, 2011:

    I’m thinking this is our bust-out game. I wanna see the offense with a consistent barrage.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 2:11 AM on October 1st, 2011:

    Barrage is a good word.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 2:55 AM on October 1st, 2011:

    It was great to finally see on Thursdays NFL Network both a player from the Jets and one from the Cowboys come out and say the truth, after all the liars on ESPN and elsewhere, admit that Vick and other mobile QB’s don’t get the same treatment as Brady, Manning and Brees. Just like I see it you touch them you’re in the dog house big time. While with 5:10 left in the 2nd half of our 2nd game it was clear Vick was standing in the pocket, then QM launched himself at full speed right in the back/right side of Vick’s helmet without Vick having any idea. Of course it was turn over and the refs didn’t see any need for a flag. If that happened to one of those 3 QB’s mentioned QM would be suspended for the year and have the biggest in history. That’s why those players mentioned they can’t do that to that to those 3.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 3:00 AM on October 1st, 2011:

    I think we got our best 3 LB’s at the right positions out there now. Rolle and Chenny could be excellent players for several years, after a couple weeks of playing together.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 2:40 AM on October 2nd, 2011:

    Yeah, it’s a shame they haven’t already been playing together for two months now. Castillo’s ability to judge talent is certainly questionable.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 3:06 AM on October 1st, 2011:

    I meant 5:10 left in the 2nd quarter.